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Archive for October 16th, 2008

FBI Investigating Florida Congressman Mahoney

Congressman Mahoney/official photo

Congressman Mahoney/official photo

The tanking economy may not be helpful to Republican candidates. But Democrat Tim Mahoney is learning that a sex scandal and an FBI probe aren’t a big plus in the final stretch of a campaign.

By Brian Skoloff
Associated Press Writer
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The FBI is investigating whether Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney broke any laws or misused federal money when he hired a mistress to work in his office, a senior federal law enforcement official told The Associated Press.
Federal agents also are examining whether a second affair Mahoney was having with a high-level official in his Florida district was behind his decision to push for federal emergency funds for her county, the official said.
The person spoke to The Associated Press only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation. The person noted investigators would likely need both women’s help to pursue the matter. The cases would be hard to prove without them.
Mahoney has called for a House Ethics Committee investigation of his own conduct and said he would be cleared of wrongdoing. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also called for an investigation.

For Full Story

FBI Investigates ACORN And Voter Fraud

Will this scandal impact the election?

By Lara Jakes Jordan
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The FBI is investigating whether the community activist group ACORN helped foster voter registration fraud around the nation before the presidential election. A senior law enforcement official confirmed the investigation to The Associated Press on Thursday.
A second senior law enforcement official says the FBI was looking at results of recent raids on ACORN offices in several states for any evidence of a coordinated national scam.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Justice Department regulations forbid discussing ongoing investigations particularly so close to an election.
For Full Story

Read ACORN Statement

Man Brings Pipe Bomb To Airport In Long Island

There’s some things you just don’t bring to the airport. A pipe bomb is one them.

Long Island MacArthur Airport

Long Island MacArthur Airport

By John Valenti
Newsday
A would-be passenger is in police custody Thursday morning after federal security agents at Long Island MacArthur Airport discovered a suspected “improvised explosive device” — or pipe bomb — in a carry-on bag, officials said.
Transportation Security Administration agents then “pulled the individual’s checked bags” and found “M-80 fireworks and ammunition,” TSA spokeswoman Lara Uselding told Newsday.
A device that had “wires and possibly looked like a pipe bomb” was found at 7:28 a.m. in a carry-on bag while being X-rayed by TSA agents, Uselding said. An airport source said a knife also was found.
Law enforcement sources said the specific type of device — an incendiary that could be a smoke bomb or pipe bomb — will not be known until it can be defused and examined.
For Full Story

Sen. Stevens Testifies That He Did No Wrong

The Stevens trial has had its fair share of ups and downs for both sides. The outcome looks uncertain. Now Stevens has stepped up to testify on his own behalf.  Will it tip the case in his favor? We’ll see what the jurors have to say.

Sen. Stevens/official photo

Sen. Stevens/official photo

By Richard Mauer and Erika Bolstad
Anchorage Daily News
WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Stevens took the stand in his own defense this afternoon, asserting in a dramatic and rapid-fire exchange with his lawyer that he has done no wrong.
“Senator, when you signed those forms, did you believe they were accurate and truthful?” asked his lawyer, Brendan Sullivan.
“Yes sir,” Stevens said.
“Did you ever intentionally file false disclosure forms?” his lawyer asked.
“No, I did not,” Stevens said.
“Did you ever engage in any scheme to conceal anything from the Senate?” Sullivan asked.
“No sir,” Stevens said.
The 84-year-old Alaska Republican is on trial for failing to report more than $250,000 in alleged gifts and services, largely from the oil field service company Veco and its chief executive, his former friend Bill Allen. Most of the gifts are connected to renovations that doubled the size of the Stevenses’ home.
For Full Story
Read Defense’s Latest Motion-Oct. 16
Read Government’s Latest Motion-Oct. 16

The Law Comes Down On Gangs In Santa Barbara

Of all the things that make this area so beautiful, gangs aren’t one of them. Law enforcement has come down hard on some gang members in the area.

By Chris Meagher
Santa Barbara Independent
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A total of 28 Santa Barbara Eastside gang members were indicted by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles last week, including 19 people under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations) Act, originally used to target the Mafia. The racketeering charges are the first ever to be brought on residents of the Central Coast.
Nine of those indicted were arrested Wednesday in an early morning operation involving more than 400 law enforcement officers from 18 local, state, and federal agencies and exclusively targeting the Eastside gang. More than 60 residences were searched this morning, resulting in the arrests. Another 17 defendants charged in the indictments were already in custody on state charges and will be handed over to federal authorities. In addition to the federal defendants, 17 others are expected to be charged in Santa Barbara Superior Court.
The indictment, according to the U.S. attorney, alleges the Eastside gang was responsible for the murders of two rival gang members last year, and also tried to kill six others.
It also indicates members of the gang were hostile to the presence of African-Americans in areas frequented by the gang, and that Eastsiders would attack individuals in their “turf” to control the area. Allegations of conspiracy to commit murder, distribute narcotics, and robbery were all included in the indictment.
For Full Story

The Real “Donnie Brasco” Refuses To Testify In Mob Trial

The Hollywood flavor of this FBI/mob trial in Miami only grew stronger today when the legendary “Donnie Brasco” himself refused to testify.

The Movie "Donnie Brasco"

The Movie

By David Ovalle
The Miami Herald
MIAMI — Even in shades and a cap, ”Donnie Brasco” would not testify.
Joe Pistone, the ex-FBI agent who used the undercover moniker to infiltrate the New York Mafia in the 1970s, refused to testify Wednesday in defense of another former agent on trial for murder in Miami.
Pistone, whose experiences were made into the 1997 movie Donnie Brasco starring Johnny Depp, declined because a judge refused to bar media cameras from filming him or snapping photos.
Lawyers cited safety — the Mafia still wanted to kill Pistone, whose work as an undercover jewel thief led to the convictions of over 100 Mafia members.
He had offered to testify as an expert on the difficulties of prosecuting the Mafia. On trial: John Connolly, a former FBI agent in Boston, accused of helping orchestrate a murder in Miami in 1982.
For Full Story

Feds Charge Jose Canseco With Illegal Drugs

Former baseball slugger Jose Canseco seems to have a taste for trouble. Here’s his latest mess.

Canseco On Letter/cbs

Canseco On Letterman/cbs

By Christian Red
New York Daily News
Former baseball slugger Jose Canseco was arraigned Tuesday in U.S. District Court in San Diego after being caught trying to smuggle the female fertility drug Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) across the border from Mexico last week.
The self-proclaimed “Godfather of Steroids,” who exposed baseball’s doping culture with his 2005 book “Juiced,” appeared before Hon. Magistrate Judge Ruben B. Brooks and was charged with Introduction into Interstate Commerce of a Misbranded Drug, a misdemeanor.
Canseco’s next court date is Nov. 4 at 9 a.m.
According to the criminal complaint, Canseco, a female driver and the female driver’s “minor daughter” were stopped by Customs and Border Protection agents after entering California at the San Ysidro checkpoint Thursday. Upon inspection of their 2004 BMW, CBP agents found six vials of HCG and ten syringes in the center armrest compartment.
For Full Story

Read Jose Canseco’s Criminal Complaint

FBI Says Computer Spying and Theft Of Info Rising

While the traditional ground wars rage on in Iraq, Afghanistan and other parts of the world, the cyber war is quietly raging around the world. Are we prepared to fight this one?

By Randall Mikkelsen
REUTERS
WASHINGTON – Computer spying and theft of personal information have risen notably in the past year, costing tens of millions of dollars and threatening U.S. security, the FBI’s cyber division head said Wednesday.
FBI Assistant Director Shawn Henry told reporters that organized-crime groups are drawn by the ease of reaching millions of potential victims.
He said as many as two dozen countries have taken an “aggressive interest” in penetrating the networks of U.S. companies and government agencies.
He declined to specify countries, but U.S. intelligence agencies have voiced concern over Russia and China’s abilities to electronically spy on the United States and disrupt U.S. computer networks.
For Full Story